NSA field hockey aims for states

Published 7:44 pm Saturday, August 6, 2016

By Henry Luzzatto



Nansemond-Suffolk Academy’s field hockey team hopes to build off a successful 2015 season that featured a young team.

The team finished the season with a record of 9-7-2, despite having a young squad that featured only two upperclassmen — one senior and one junior.

The young Saints improved on their record of 8-10-2 from the 2014 season. With one more year of experience under their belts, the girls hope to continue to improve their record.

“I look forward to the progress that we will continue to make, and I expect great success from these girls,” said Ashley Skinner, the team’s head coach.

Skinner said the team will be expected to do even better with the experience gained from last year. Though she once again only has one senior in the squad, midfielder Paige Christiansen, she has a wealth of rising juniors and sophomores at her disposal.

Skinner said she hopes Christiansen will be able to lead the team again, both on and off the field. Christiansen served as a team captain last season, and will have the same leadership duty this year.

“I expect great contributions from all of our players this season, but a couple key players to watch will be Paige Christiansen and Megan Morrell,” she said.

Morrell, a center fielder, said she thinks this year’s team will exceed last year’s performance in at least one regard.

“I think we’ll do about the same, but I have a feeling we’ll make states,” she said.

Morrell is one of the team’s longest-serving players, debuting in the varsity lineup when she was in eighth grade. She says her experience as a young player will help her step up into a leadership role this year.

“I like being able to be a leader this season,” she said. “The younger kids look up to you because of your experience. You know what it’s like to be in their position.”

Though the exact makeup of the team will not be known until after the tryouts on Monday, Skinner said she hopes to see several incoming freshmen, as well as new players joining the team. Though other coaches might see such a young squad as an issue that needs to be overcome, Skinner and Morrell view it as a positive.

“I think it’s a benefit,” Morrell said. “All the younger girls will learn and make the team stronger. You can see them improve throughout the season.”

Tryouts for the field hockey team begin on Monday. Though the team may be small in numbers and short on seniority, Morrell said they have no shortage of drive to better themselves.

“The main thing is to have that drive, to want it and not give up,” she said. “We need to push ourselves at practice and on the field.”